Well, Dunc's finally gone and done it, and as of last week he's shipped out to pastures new in Barcelona, where he'll no doubt be reducing himself to penuary on a strict diet of women and gin (or San Miguel).
Tuesday night was his 'testimonial' at the Hermit's Cave, and his loyal fan base turned out in droves to witness it. At one point there was at least ten of us, though the pub was unaccountably busy (that might have been the boxing, though).
One source – close to Camberwell's now ex premier liquid drum and bass exponent said: "move over Dunc, I want to get past".
But his leaving is a blow. As of tomorrow I'll be putting an ad on the notice board in Tadims, and in the ads section of the Southwark weekender for a new drinking buddy (and them tings don't come for free you get me?).
D-Func. D'func. DJ Phase. D Unit. You shall be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his housemates, who've now got an estate agent moving in to replace him. Though he's actually alright.
Then the weekend was good. So good that the psychic trauma of a few days soulless freelancing for an unnappreciative gaggle of Mac slaves in Chealsea Harbour coudn't even thwart it. Friday I went out to the Crypt under St. Giles's Church on the recommendation of Al 'Scot' – Stockport's very own answer to Herbie Hancock. It's always a good night as you get to bump chairs with lots of cool and not so cool types, the beer is cheap, and there is a real live vicar wandering round. On this ocassion they had quite a big name on 'on the scene' apparently, so it was extra busy.
Saturday was almost surreally hot. Surreally in the sense that it was naturally hot without someone in my flat putting the heating on in the middle of June. I proudly donned birkenstocks and outsized Aviators (they make you look like a cross between Tom Cruise and a fly) and headed to Highbury park to meet Sam and Will.
There was a group of lads throwing a frisbee quite near us. It seemed to have an inbuilt random trajectory that rendered it completley unpredictable, and hence impossible to field. The otherwise farcical attempts of the players to actually catch it were lent something of an extra frisson by it repeatedly nearly burying itself in the heads of passers-by and children. We sat and smoked, and Will told us the reason you don't see white dog turds around anymore is because dogfood manufacturers don't add bonemeal to dogfood. That clears that up then (heh).
Then we went and ate at a surly Greek restaraunt on Upper Street called Mem & Laz. The food was alright, but the service sucked so hard it's still slowing down time in some areas of the solar system.
Then on Sunday went for a walk, up to Burgess park, and back down through Peckham Rye along where the old canals were. Spurning ice creams on the way back we popped into Gabby's for one of their excellent Patties (no saltfish though).
I also found some old records in a yard sale type affair across the road, including an Ohio players lp and an amazing 7 inch from 1984 that mashes up Billie Jean with 'Do It Again' by Steely Dan. Special.
We finally ended up on Ed's roof eating charcoal coated falafel, and 'chicken' burgers. Chicken in the sense that chickens exist and so do these, though they look more like the shingles off some vast improbable monster. The roof itself looks like it's covered in lead, but it transpires it's actually concrete painted silver. Pretty fucking funny concrete as you have to intermittently move chairs or they start sinking into the surface. The super-heated disposable barbecue also made quite a good bid for freedom by going 'China-Syndrome' through the roof of the flat. I think we managed to catch most of it in our lungs though.
Right. This week I'm out in Chiswick, then Covent Garden. I'm also flat sitting (or cat-sitting) for Sam and Kaye, so it'll give me the chance to explore 'ackney and 'oxton a bit.
On Saturday I finally ended up going to Angel, to hook up with my friends Will and Sam, and give Sam the artwork for the business card I designed her. We went to Bierodrome for a bite to eat where I had the burger 'special'. Special by virtue of an added slice of blue cheese. It also came with a serving of fried onions that were devilishly tasty, but hugely salty. The portions were certifiably adequate. Any more and I would have shrivelled up like a frog on hot tarmac, for sure.
Went for one at the Hen and Chickens theatre bar before jumping on the tube at Highbury and heading home. These days when heading home on the tube I've got into the habit of staying on until Oval, then walking back – rather than getting off at the Elephant. It's a bit more expensive.. but miles nicer. You get to walk by such locations as 'The Miliki Spot' and, Mr Dandy, as well as the business park were I spent two days stapling together invoices for a builders merchants last year, so full of happy memories.
On the stop before Oval there was a couple sat opposite me. A black dude with short dreads and a white girl in a grubby tracksuit. The bags under her eyes marked as the 'frequent flyer' type. They had an English bull terrier with them that (I presume it was it anyway) emitted a sour fart of such a pitch to make your eyes water, before winding back behind their legs and collapsing under the fold-down seats.
Got back and my housemate and his friends showed up from the Funky Munky - to play music at volume.
Now it's Monday, and I've just gone and eaten at The Jungle Grill. Set Veggie breakfast 5. Very nice. Marvyn, Gregg and Mandy have gone to the pub. Good luck to them.
A flat fuorescent monolith has manifested at either end of butterfly walk, seemingly overnight. A bit like the monolith at the beginning of 2001, except this one probably doesn't herald some kind of quantum leap in human evolution so much as direct you to a load of crappy pound shops selling flimsy plastic artefacts.
I'm a bit hung over. Ended up in the Hermit's Cave last night talking bollocks until closing. Ed was laying out a proposal for his new quiz show. So far as I remember it it's going to be called 'Good Cop, Bad Cop" and the pitch is that one contestant has a secret that presenters Fern Britten (good cop) and Andy Crane (bad cop) have to extract from them. There's also going to be a torture section where Tony Robinson gets beaten to yield evidence.
I think this all came about because we were three of us standing aound a circular table that felt like a gameshow prop.
Anyway. Bank holiday weekend. Not sure what to do tonight, but in the interim I might go and look in some charity shops.
This week I was working out in Chiswick, which was a hike. Nice enough in a semi-suburban London sort of way it seemed to be mostly populated by average Italian sandwich shops and.. yeah. Nice tube station though.
The work was quite interesting, though I was working on a grumpy Mac that might as well have been carved out of soap considering how responsive it was. It was a 19 gig cube G4, which had 700mb free.
It wasn't fast.
I managed to speed it up by doing some housekeeping (deleting some of the crap of the desktop and backing up some stuff) but nontheless, it didn't work particularly well if there was more than one application open, and seemed to take its own sweet time even then. Oh well.
Other than that the week was fairly uneventful, though on Thursday I did go to be Launch party for the new Diesel Store on Bond Street, courtesy of Deven Miles. It turned out to be stuffed to the rafters with some of most scary fashion types this side of Naomi Campbell's birthday party, which wasn't really surprising I suppose.
Now don't get me wrong, I like me some clothes - I used to get regularly lynched round Stockport by groups of rat faced Rockport clad youths for my eccentric choice of attire, but I was left standing here.
It was held at Victoria house, and I'm not sure what it usually looks like inside, but they had partitioned off the interior into lots of separate rooms linked by corridors, which was a bit like a cross between The Cube and one of those mazes they feed lab rats into. It was also unspeakably hot.
The music was good though, and there was a free bar. Apparently Brian Adams was there earlier, though the only semi famous person I spotted was Trevor 'Playgroup' Jackson. The It's Bigger Than were also in effect, posting it high by the decks, but I ended up leaving after about an hour, as I was absolutely dead tired and felt like something out of a George A Romero film. Being constantly elbowed by the beautiful people didn't help my mood either.
Anyway. Dunc/D-Func/DJ Phase's birthday party and leaving do tonight in just over an hour. If the storm clouds can hold off long enough there might even be a barbeque on his roof terrace, but looking at the sky outside, that seems unlikely.
I find that my TV watching habits are kind of a barometer of what's going on in my life. If I can give good account of recent events in Neighbours, say, it's a pretty good indication that I've not been working and am probably to be found drinking tea and staring moodily out of my living room window at coach loads of Polish tourists thundering past on Camberwell Church Street. Same goes for Countdown – except that's good, of course.
One thing I do seem to watch regularly though is Eastenders, and I say this with very little pride, as I realise that the programme is, put simply, car-crash tv.
It is quite amusingly bad though, and there are a few reasons for this. The most obvious one being that it depicts a London that is utterly nonexistant, except in the fevered imaginations of the shows producers. A vision as authentically 'London' as Dick Van Dyck's accent in Mary Poppins, only less so. For starters, if this is supposed to be the East End, shouldn't it be a bit more, shall we say, ethnically diverse? Rather than the token asian and black characters crudely shoehorned in to for appeasement's sakes, where are the African characters, The Bangladeshis, the Northeners (and don't say burt).
And jobs.. never mind all this market stall nonsense, surely anywhere in London is going to be home to at least one web designer, a couple of grime DJs, a freelance journalist and some recruitment consultants. Oh the recruitment consultants. Some shadey landlords as well, charging small fortunes for shoeboxes overlooking the high street, and taking two months to fix a tap. Then putting up the rent.
But one thing Eastenders does pride itself on, is its portfolio of 'hardmen', who are about as intimidating as yoghurt, only less useful in a fight. The most obvious being gurning 'double trouble' slapheads Phil and Grant, (brought back in in a vain attempt to boost ratings and proving, ultimately, that no-one ever really leaves the square – they just do a series of 'Ultimate Force' instead). Other than that though, notable villains include the 'pathetic gangster' – a post last occumpied by Johnny Allen. Pre-requisites for this role are simple really, you just have to be bereft of gravitas and supremely unintimidating, so having a receeding bouffant hairline and having sung in Spandau Ballet won't harm your chances one iota.
And the storylines... watching a storyline emerge in Eastenders is a bit like watching a ship sink – incredibly slowly. There's an awful inevitability to it in its sheer crashing unsubtlety and contrivance. One thing that always makes me groan inwardly is when two of the characters start talking at each other at cross purposes, and you realise that this is only the beginning of a tedious 'comedy of errors' that will take weeks to unravel, and won't even be that good when you get there. A bit like worrying away at the yards of grubby grey cable tangled behind your pc, somehow you realise it's better left alone and it will still be like that in six months time anyway. Something else that isn't exactly hard to spot in the 'Stenders is the way they introduce new characters – in short, they talk, unlike the hosts of extras who generally potter round mutely in the background like animated bit-players in some East End fuzzy felt diorama.
What is problematic with this, is that the programme's vocabulary in terms of its players is so limited that it's frankly ludicrous. Everyone has got, or had, such beef with other residents of the square that it's hard to see why anyone still lives there. An example of this that Will pointed out to me was how on Steve Owen's stag night, everyone put aside their differences for a night of leering and carousing in the E20. Why would you invite your enemies to your stag do? Because they're the only people you know of course, because no-one else in your neighbourhood talks! Jesus it's like some kind of Beckettian dystopia round here.. let's get down the queen Vic and roll out the barrel.
Eastenders is spiritually bankrupt too. Everyone always ends to scewing someone over over (both literally and figurtively) so in the end, everyone is as bad as each other. There's no moral compass in it whatsoever, unless you count Dot Cotton, and frankly, even she was being kinda snidey to the guy from Dad's Army who Pauline's shacked up with now. And far too many people end up sleeping with Pat Butcher, though, I did hear she was shacked up with Moira Stewart so maybe anything's possible.
All thus aside however, I can't pretend I don't watch this shit, and there's something peversely enjoyable about it. It really is utterly brainless, powdered soup for the mind, which is just the ticket for a Monday night. It also offers up a plethora of characters it really is quite fun to be irritated by – I'm thinking of Phil Mitchell's meeping drip of a son Ben at the precise minute, but there have been, and will be others.
But it has gone downhill since Big Ron left. Next week: Hollyoaks (joke).
When it comes to footwear I'm down with Lords Of the Underground on this one. I'm sporting me some new brogues, and goddamn it if they're not pimping. I'm feeling them hard. Now, I just need to get my dads old 70s tan leather Austin Reed jacket repaired, and I'll be S.U.P.E.R.B.A.D.
I'm working back at M&C on some ongoing freelance with a view to becoming permanent. Apparently. Hope this gig works out as I had to burn some bridges to get here – bridges of the recruitment agency form so no huge loss, but still, I hate letting people down.
Twas It's Bigger Than on Saturday, so rolled up there. Ade and Dunc were absent having drunk themselves stupid at the Shaun Goater testimonial match at Southend. Their cousin had originally planned to bring along a live goat, then a load of toy ones before finally opting for twenty quids worth of veg, which he handed out to people with the instruction "feed the goat". No-one was allowed to take it in the stadium though, so the entire thing sounds like a bit of a waste of veg really. Maybe they should have bought a goat for a village in Africa or something. Just a thought. Anyway, I digress. IBT was good, though I was disappointed as Kaye didn't bring glowsticks like she said she was going to. Ah well – they'll keep to her and Sam's wedding I suppose, and in all fainress I left the vicks at home along with my hi-vis jacket and smiley shirt.
Went to the blogger meet up at the Sun and Doves yesterday, and chatted with the guys from the Flickr group. Nice bunch. I want to get more involved but for that I really need a camera that takes more than like, two photos per charge.
My head hurts today though. Realised how misguided my boozing adventure when I awoke this morning feeling like my brain had been dropkicked into a ditch full of asbestos. I should win a prize for how I feel, seriously. Still I'm getting through it. I had a fluorescent salad from Itsu before consisting of seaweed, shredded carrot and pumkin seeds, so that's gotta count for something, right?
Horrid day too. Lukewarm torpid weather with a sky the colour of grey milk. There was a fire alarm here before. Everyone swarmed into the square outside and milled about.
And now I blog. Can't wait to go home.. and Lost's on tonight too, so I'll veg out a bit too. Got a spot of design needs doing first, mind.
I'm sipping grey coffee in a studio in Clerkenwell. The same creative services provider that ran the last studio I was in, incumbent in CHI off Oxford Street.
It uses some software called Twist, which some guy ran through me very quickly with me. As far as I can tell it's like an extension that generates different pdfs simultaneously. I think - I'm not sure. I'm quite tired and will probably ask the guy again.
Last week in Wales seems a million miles away. One thing I didn't write about then is that my mum and dad are plagued by a pheasant, that I think by rights should be a cartoon character a la Woody Woodpecker. Its thing is making a 'bwip bwip' sound a bit like a car alarm being deactivated – followed by a whooshing sound a bit like a flame thrower. Great at four in the morning – I think my dad wants to wack it.
Bank holiday was good. Stayed in on Friday and watched Layer Cake – which was alright if slightly convoluted. Also had some interesting freelance doing some illustration for a magazine in Ireland and working on a logo for a friend. Ironically a few things have happened at once, so a third bit which was also in the offfing had to sidelined, really, as it was spec work, and the other stuff is paid. Shame.
Saturday went to my friends Sam and Kays', and they cooked some food – some nice gnocchi and tomato sauce. Then went to Tea Bar in Shoreditch, where some guy was spinning techno. I recognised some of the tracks from a set by Jerome Pacman.
Awoke on Sam's couch in East London and went and ate eggs benedict at a cafe on Hackney Road. Think it was called 'The Premises'. It's under a studio anyway, and the walls are adorned with signed mugshots of musicians such as Roy Ayers, Miss Dynamite, and um, Charlotte Church. Ms Church's beaming photo was directly opposite me with the caption "Lush stirfry! You guys are stonking!" then something in Welsh.
The weather was good so I rather excitedly arranged to go and sit on Clapham Common with Ade – which was a cue for the weather to change and slate grey clouds to swarm across the sky. Went to the Tim Bobbin in the old town instead, before finally ending up back at Ade's listening to techno until the wee hours.
Felt weak on Monday, so spurned my friend Helen's offer of a roast and went home instead. Didn't do too much except watch a couple of episodes of Darkplayce.
And now it's tuesday. I'm pretty tired. I just finished a book called Post Office by Charles Bukowski. Its pretty funny, and having worked many a bleak summer job (and indeed temped for the NHS more recently) his depiction of 'bleakjob' (tm) rings very true.